I'm off to the Philippines this Thursday, hurrah for me.
I'm going with my church.
Which I don't think I've ever done before…or at least, not for a long time. I'm not usually one for following someone else's program, especially when travelling. But hey, learning to share is ok :P
Enjoyably, the team and I went over "the rules" yesterday.
Many of which focused on not becoming "romantically involved"…haha. But one of them was about the importance of respecting local customs…and local food, i.e. if someone offers you a disgusting meal, you should eat it. And appear to enjoy it.
Which is fair enough, someone has gone to the effort to cook or buy you food, one should at least try and smile. In Malaysia this is not a problem 90% of the time, cos you guys have good food!!
After "the rules" meeting, we all went out for dinner. And inadvertently tested out the food-face rule.
Someone ordered squid for the table…it was raw-looking squid and I'm not exactly sure what was on it, but some kind of dark, syrupy sauce and crushed peanuts. I don't really like squid at the best of times, so I was happily not eating it.
Plus, as my English friend is still here, she's now the novelty focus of, "Ooh, have you tried this? You should try this", instead of me. Happy days.
So this happened re: the squid, and she reluctantly stabbed a piece and chowed down.
Everyone looked on expectantly…
Friend: Mmm…are they peanuts?
Local friend: Yes, peanuts, it tastes much better with peanuts.
Me: (shocked) Is it good?
Me: Huh. Is it cooked?
Local friend: Yeah, it's cooked.
At this point, I am curious. I do like cooked squid sometimes…and I do like peanuts…and my English friend likes it…so maybe it'll be good..?
I stab a squid and put the whole thing in my mouth.
WHAT is this thing in my mouth???? WHY am I eating it????? Horrifying!!
I look around the table in shock and accusation.
Local friend: The face, the face!! Practice the face!!
It's SO DIFFICULT!!! How to look like you're enjoying something that's the most gross thing ever?? It was such a big piece, there's no escape, I have to keep chewing but it's not getting smaller, I can't spit it out and I can't just swallow it or I'll choke but EWW it's SO BAD!!!
Retrospectively, I discovered that the squid was boiled, which hardly constitutes cooking, in my opinion. And secondly, turns outs my English friend did an incredible job of "the face"! She hated it too, but she fooled everyone, including me!!!
I have some serious work to do…in a couple of weeks I'll be back to let you know how I got on... :P